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Cars Getting Better Mileage – But Motorists Now Driving More

Drivers undercut improvements in fuel economy.

by on Mar.11, 2013

Motorists are offsetting better vehicle fuel economy by driving further - and more often alone.

The good news, reports the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, is that today’s cars are more fuel-efficient than ever – the window sticker on the average vehicle sold in February climbing to 24.5 mpg.

The bad news? Motorists are driving longer distances, and with fewer people in their vehicles, sharply undercutting the improvements in vehicle fuel economy.

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In a somewhat complex formula incorporating fuel economy, distance driven and the number of passengers traveling in each vehicle, the study concludes that fuel economy – per person traveling – has barely improved at all over the last 40 years, according to UMTRI’s Michael Sivak, who directs the Sustainable Worldwide Transportation program.


Feds Tap Oil Reserves – Oil Prices Plunge

Move comes as motorists curb driving.

by on Jun.24, 2011

The decision to tap the federal oil reserves was followed by a $5 a gallon dip in petroleum prices.

Wary that oil prices could start surging for the summer, the White House will release 30 million barrels of oil from the nation’s strategic reserves in an effort to offset supplies lost due to Mideast turmoil.

How much of an impact the move will have is uncertain, however.  The move is the equivalent of just two days worth of oil consumption in the U.S. and about three days of oil imports.  But in the past, tapping into the country’s emergency oil reserves has been able to ease upward price pressures.

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Oil prices have actually already been falling, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, reaching a national average of $3.61 a gallon on Thursday, the 20th consecutive daily decline.  That figure is 21 cents below where fuel prices stood a month ago.  One reason may be that motorists have been curbing their driving in response to higher fuel prices.

“We are taking this action in response to the ongoing loss of crude oil due to supply disruptions in Libya and other countries and their impact on the global economic recovery,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.